Harun Yahya dangles big prizes for creationism essays
Turkey’s Muslim creationist Harun Yahya is not satisfied with sending lavish books against evolution and Darwin to western schools. He’s now running an anti-evolution essay contest with a top prize of $64,000. He has just doubled the prize money from $32,000 and boosted the maximum length for essays from 15 to 60 pages.
“The competitors of the competition “Why Is the Theory of Evolution Invalid?” held by Science Research Foundation had some righteous demands, stating that given the too many dilemmas of Darwinism, 15 pages is too short for their essays and that the time is inadequate,” his group has written in a message I just received. “The purpose of this competition is to raise young people’s awareness of Darwinism, which has inflicted immense damage on mankind and to put them on their guard against this terrible fraud in science.”
The procedure is a bit complicated. One hundred participants have to first be accepted on the basis of the essays. They will then have to take a test consisting of 80 questions about evolution. The announcement says the test will be held in December 2009 at a location to be announced.
This made me wonder about who would enter this contest. Harun Yahya is one of the few Muslims active in the creationism field otherwise dominated by conservative Christians. These Christians are often — but not always — sceptical to hostile towards Islam. So would they approve of their children submitting essays to Harun Yahya’s contest? Would the creationist museums in the United States advertise this attractive offer? I can’t imagine there is such a jackpot anywhere else for a creationist essay.